cause no harm

Earlier this year, when I was first in Bali for TEDxUbud, I had the privilege of meeting Rick Pursell. Rick is founder of Cause No Harm, the Namaste Retreat Center in upper Ubud and was speaker at the premier TEDxUbud. Cause No Harm strikes directly at the heart, the heart of business, by offering a full spectrum look at the effects a business has on people, communities and the planet. The organization partners with businesses large and small to take a look at elements of their existence and operations. From "Cause No Harm to Ourselves", to "Cause No Harm to Equipment", to "Cause No Harm to the Planet"... then from "Awareness and Responsibility" to "Integrity" and more a wholistic approach is taken. In addressing each topic, existing business behaviors are evaluated for a true read on current harm impacts. From these truthful evaluations road maps are written to define paths and steps needed to reach a Cause No Harm reality for each. The process may be long, may not achieve completion on each subject, but momentum and awareness are created and positive change is put into action.

I am proud to know Rick and his organization. We are in discussions on how we can further work together, how we can blend networks and skills to achieve Cause No Harm and Earthawareness through as many organizations and souls as possible during this life. Plus we sort of look alike...

Find Cause No Harm on here.


Architectural Foundation of Oregon - Knight experience



A great friend of mine and long-time Earthaware supporter is the amazing Wilson Smith, a Fellow of Design at Nike, responsible for many Nike products and advancements through design thinking, a musician and inspirational speaker. Having been around the process and end results of the Earthaware woven materials process/language, Wilson holds an idea of what can be formed and done with pliable materials. Wilson sits on the Board of the Architecture Foundation of Oregon (AFO) which holds an annual fundraiser at the Oregon Convention Center to honor Oregonians who have contributed significantly to the built environment in Oregon. This year the honorees were Phil and Penny Knight, Phil is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Nike.

In late July 2012 Wilson asked me if I would design and oversee the fabrication of a backdrop/thematic element for the AFO/Knight event stage and some sort of table-top elements. The event boasts 640 attendees at 64 tables of ten. The stage is 40' across and has both a podium area and a seated area for a discussion forum. Having not done a large personally authored sculptural piece for about a year aside from the work done with kids around the world, where the mantra is to start the kids out and let them lead with form and composition, I jumped at the chance to create again at this scale.first stage concept sketch

I know well what can be sculpturally accomplished with sticks and branches, in a modular format, built off-site and moved into and assembled at the Convention Center for the event. Last year with the help of hundreds of Oregonians over the course of two weeks I created the Cascade AIDS project Nike sponsored "StoryPOD" made of sticks, branches and Nike RED Laces (the RED campaign generates revenues through the sale of RED "branded" products with proceeds going to AIDS awareness globally). Again there was a Nike theme here with AFO and I knew there are also tens of thousands RED Laces still in warehouses in Beaverton, Oregon. Wilson got 12,000 of the RED laces from Nike, AFO obtained a truckload of Douglas Fir and Apple branches from West Wind Farm and a warehouse space from Oregon Electric, along with steel conduit and wire. I contacted JP Reuer at PNCA to see if any of his graduate design students would be interested in helping out: He sent four over.

Early design sketches focused on three different design styles: Flame (referencing the Olympic flame, triumphant energy and the burning of past), Forest (referencing the great majestic vertical trees and dripping mosses of the Pacific Northwest), and Stone (referencing solid forms of foundation and a platform for building).

AFO flame


AFO selected the design theme of Stone for its less dramatic flair and we were off. These projects have a fair degree of unknown as we go in. I thank AFO and Nike for trusting that we would develop a result that would hold true to the vision and become a compelling experience for the attendees of the event.


Day one of fabrication is framing and bending the structures into shape, mostly out of bent steel conduit. I created a few forms referencing stone and cliff shapes that I generated from observation of local rock formations in the Columbia River Gorge and transferred to a sketch.

Then we just got going bending and wire tying and making the large stage elements for three days.




I made two models of the table top sculptures with bent copper frames and about 30 Nike RED laces tied on in faceted forms. We used these as inspiration for how to tie thousands of Nike RED laces onto the larger stage elements.

We worked for a total of about 60 person-hours to create six stage elements of varying sizes. Next Oregon Electric moved everything to the Oregon Convention Center for stage set-up, lighting and making an additional 63 table-top mini-sculptures of copper and RED laces with the help of a number of AFO volunteers.


Then it was event night... here are the results:


The fun and interactive connections at the tables where we asked the attendees to take the table top sculptures as a starting point for making their own creations using RED laces we put on the tables plus anything else they though warranted.




Such a great event, fun people and interaction with creative expression.


I want to give credit and a big thanks to PNCA graduate design students that helped in the fabrication of the stage elements: Emily Wyant, Dan Hodges, Brian Hutsebout and Lange a transfer student from Bejing, China.



some nice coverage of our recent activity with the Singapore based innoKIDZ group at Montfort Boys Town in Kuala Lumpur. scroll through to see all the writings.

part one

part two

Montfort Boys Town, Kuala Lumpur, Malysia


Kuala Lumpur, Malasia: Montfort Boys Town - it is hot (105F) and very humid (98%), we sweat...

Singapore based InnoKIDZ and Earthaware are here to teach 160 teens from difficult backgrounds about teamwork, self confidence, charachter and the environmental awareness all at once over a two day weekend. The participants were 130 boys plus about 30 girls, from broken homes, as refugees from nearby Myrnamar, from the street and some are escapees from the human trafficing trade. The Montfort facility is a haven for these kids, an oasis of education and saftey from the harshness life dealt them at the start of life. It is a clean and well structured Christian institution backed by a network of NGOs and organizations such as The Salvation Army and Evolution Asia. We are here to add creative curriculum to the vocational based programs currently being offered.

The weekend started Saturday at 9AM in a large meeting room with an overview of past Earthaware projects and a roadmap to what we were going to do for the next two days. We split the 160 paticipants into teams of ten and had them gather as team units in circles on the floor. In the next 48 hours each team was to make a hut out of gathered sticks, branches and reuseable materials all found on land owned by Montfort adjacent to the campus. They could gather as much as they wanted, but to take only what they needed and to not take down anything more than 4 cm in diameter. They were to visualize the use of other materials too: plastics, rope and other rubbish they may encounter in the jungle. We provided twine and wire to bind and lash the structures together. Our schedule allowed for gathering material Saturday morning and framing in the afternoon. Sunday morning framing was to be complete and walls, coverings, roofs and decorations were to be done and completed by early afternoon on Sunday.The 16 huts were to be considered a village when complete.

Communication, leadership, strategy, sharing and teamwork was as important in the experience as the making of the huts leading to a village. Each team was then required to select a leader and come up with a team name based upon the letters A through P given to them. This was the first step in engaging teamwork and internal communication.

Next we headed outside to establish a small circle of land for each team to build upon. The Earthaware process intentionally establishes numerous constraints for the teams to work within, just like life. We point this out and ask the participants to consider how the constraints of a small plot of land, sticks of only certian sizes, binding materials of limited use and a short time with ten team menbers may be similar to an individuals opportunities in life based upon education, culture, health and so on. The intentional learning is to optimize what one has, to work with others and understand that shared effort is often more effective than what the indiviual can do alone.

From there we moved across the street to the Montfort jungle. Each team had one saw for ten people. They had one hour to gather materials and transport it all back to the project site. They were to organize themselves to source, cut, extract, stack, drag or carry and organize for building. They were fast at doing this, several teams even broke into song as they worked together for the first time.

Next came the initial steps of building the huts: framing. Many structures and shapes were tried, squares, tee-pees, tents and lean-tos. The participants experimented with lashing, binding, notching and cross-bracing. Some structures fell down, several were designed and redesigned as strength or lack-there-of was discovered. Some teams had trees to lean their structures against, others had rocks and signposts that could be used.

Day one ended with sixteen structures framed out, two had roofs on and four were pretty wobbly. We did a quick site cleanup and the 160 builders headed off for showers and dinner.


Day two started with roll call, some stretching and light exercise to prepare for the day of movement. The team leaders were called to assembly, the strategy for the day reviewed and off to work. We found that all four wobbly structures from the previous day had fallen over in the night. Each lacked cross bracing whereas the other 12 had triangular structures or were connected to trees. The leaders of the teams with collaped work were given the choice to dis-band and join other teams whose structures did not fall or they could rebuild and overcome the initial "failure". All four teams decided amongst themselves to perservere and rebuild, they studied the other standing structures and redesigned on the spot. These four were now at a time disadvantage and had to catchup quickly. They all pulled together and ultimatley built strong, standing huts.

At the lunch break we all discussed how "failure" is often an opportunity in hiding, one must learn how to handle it and seek the wisdom within the challenge. Furthermore we continued with the parallel teaching of how the huts go together frame then roof then walls then decorations and personalization on the one hand and the self consisting of basic behaviors and ethics (frame), communication, listening and teamwork skills (roof and walls), and special interests and unique personalities (the decorations) on the other hand. The participants learned that without the foundational elements firmly in place and supported internally by cross-bracing then the finishing touches of the decorations can never really be got to.

Back outside for the final session teams scrambled to complete the huts. Some were well into decorating by adding antennas for "TV and Satellite service", team name plaques, special operable stick windows, a fireplace, furniture and mock colored wallpapers. Some teams were just trying to get the roof on. One team intentionally designed, built, tore down and redesigned five complete cycles in search of the ultimate hut, in the end they ran out of time for the R&D and threw up a simple tent-like structure.

At 3:00 we sounded the horn and stopped all construction. Teams were then given five, five meter long strips of green ribbon with instructions for team members to tie their hut to adjacent huts while taking the time to ask the other teams what they were proud of on thier huts and what challenges they faced. This sharing and connecting session took sixteen separate huts and connected them all together into a village, a village of sharing and thus the creation of a community of teams, just like the "real world" outside.

Next teams returned to their village huts to spend ten minutes sharing what they learned about the neighbors and to decide what they as a team were to tell the community was their best hut feature or project experience and what was the greatest challenge overcome. After that we called for five minutes of silence, time for self reflection on what each had learned for himself, how the experience can be taken deep into personal decisions and outlook. This was the most touching five minutes of the weekend as all 160 young men and women sat in eyes-closed stillness.

We then assembled as a village again and each team took its turn presenting to the rest, giggling, being boisterous or shy as teens will do and in the end gathering for huge cheers, applause and celebration. We gathered several group hugs followed by arms in the air and general jumping about.

Earthaware+The Island Foundation school workshops

Six months after the original Earthaware project on Bintan Island, Indonesia back in November of 2011, I am back for teaching at four community centers and to work with the staff of The Island Foundation (TIF) developing curriculum for the next year of classes. A quick recap of what is happening here: Bintan is an hour ferry ride south east of Singapore. About a decade ago rampant luxury resort development on the north side of Bintan island resulted in the forcible relocation of indigenous people to areas not within sight of the tourists and resorts. This included both land based natives and the ocean living "Orang-Laut" (translated as People-Ocean, similar to Orangoutang meaning People-Forest). The sight of these gentle people in their home made boats off shore from the resort beaches was deemed unsightly by the resort owners. As a result the Oran-laut were driven from the waters they had fished and lived on for longer than written record. The relocation landed them on the eastern side of the island. In support of these people and to preserve their rich cultural heritage TIF has setup community learning centers in seven of the refugee villages created as relocation points. The centers are individually staffed by locals trained by TIF, they teach skills for the new life forced upon the people. There are day, after school and adult classes in language, computer skills, world awareness and life strategy. All classes are offered free of charge. TIF exists as a NGO on donations mostly from Singapore donors.


The Earthaware program offered on Bintan inserts a bit of extra fun into the kids curriculum offered by TIF. We first take the kids out to the nearby beaches or into the jungle and selectively harvest sticks, branches and useful waste materials as fodder for making sculptures. The topic of the making is usually animals of either the ocean or the forest (last time the marine manatee called a Dugong, this time stingrays and octopii). As we make our creatures we talk about the environment and the impacts and appropriateness of the materials we have found to build with. Then we create stories and names for the creatures and put them to song. The process generally takes 6-8 hours over two days per location.

This simple video covers that activity of the June visit location by location.

The Earthaware contribution has been to bring programs for greater awareness of the environment, the effect each human has on the environment and methods to reduce negative impacts on the environment. After six sessions with from 13 to over 50 kids at different community centers and schools during two visits to Bintan we have seen memory and changed behavior formed in the kids about the experience and the messages imbedded in the teachings. With this proven success TIF has asked for greater involvement by Earthaware. We spent the last two days of the June 2012 visit with the teachers from each community writing curriculum and sequential learning experiences that build upon each other for greater awareness of Earth and Ocean and the elements of human interface that enhance or damage each.

Perhaps the most impactful and future oriented result of the sharing sessions was our ideation of BLUE CAMP, a workshop platform for visitors to visit Bintan, spend time both learning from and teaching the locals about the variables of this amazing place and its importance to Indonesia, Asia and the planet. We expect to be back in 2013 for more Earthaware and Bluecamp events.

beach cleanup and toy making, sanur, bali

While on Bali I was asked by Erin Michelle Threlfall of the Bali International School (BIS) to join in as a guest instructor an upcoming gathering of local and ex-pat children from several schools at a beach clean-up. sponsored by Crystal Divers, a local outfit that routinley scours Bali's shores and scuba sites for plastics and trash... I thought about it for about a nano-second and said YES!

I arrived, after riding the thin line of "squish you are road pizza" through crazy Bali traffic on my little scooter, at the Bali International School where Erin greeted me and gave me a tour. Our 25 kids were ready with gloves, hats and sun screen so we quickly boarded a bus to the Sanur public beach with our willing enviro-scrubbers. Soon we were at the local fishermans beach amongst many small fishing boats with colorful pontoons and plenty of trash everywhere to work on gathering, cleaning and repurposing into toys. We were joined by kids from other international schools, the Green School and a few local schools, over 250 earth guardians in all and none older than 13.


We found fishing nets, rope of all diameters, unusable cigarette butts and glass and tons (literally) of plastic in the form of bottles, caps, bags and containers plus bike frames, wood from boat hills, styrofoam floats and much more. We setup a sorting area and used sea water to clean off the prime trash for repurposing.

Next step was to cut, crimp, bend and lash our materials into cars, dolls, swings, space stations and the inevitable swords and bows with arrows. While working we talked about the mess on the beach, imagined what it might look like in the water off the reef and devised ways to communicate to people how we could all work together to change this.

Bali is one of our planets most amazing gifts yet even here in paradise there is a plastic legacy of destruction building day by day. There are local farmers and markets here where you get your food in leaf packaging or wrapped in bio-degradable newspapers yet most of the food and liquids humans consume come in plastic based packaging and after cooking or drinking that packaging usually finds its way into the environment. As a team of young minds cleaning up after this fact we are asking humanity to make better consumption choices and to ask our foods producers to find better ways of packaging and shipping the foods they produce.


TEDxUbud inspiration in paradise


Arriving in Bali in the dark of night is like knowing you are getting a present with your eyes closed and being handed it but you can not open it until sunrise. Close up the plants and buildings can be seen and smelled in the night, a sense of the depth of beauty can be felt but with the sun beaming through the open windows eight hours later the full force of Bali brilliance becomes evident and is magical.

Bali has a rich Hindu tradition of offerings to Spirits, prayers and honoring all things which creates a happy and healthy people like no other. Morning and evening offerings of small folded palm leaf trays holding flowers and rice are placed in doorways and about the streets with smoldering incense and a few splashes of water. They are changed daily as the people connect to the abundance of life all around. It gives a moment of pause from daily life for the women that perform the offerings and for those watching the small ceremonies, a lovely tradition.

TEDx events have been spun off around the world as independently organized mini TEDs (Technology Entertainment Design conferences) and for the second time they have landed in Ubud, Bali. I attended the TEDxUbud2 at the amazing Five Elements Resort the second day of my three weeks in Bali. 400 people gathered for the event.mThe inspirational talks, music, dance, great coffee, food and networking dazzled with content ranging from fair trade to death with dignity, Java jazz to funky beatbox and presentations on island stewardship and protection for the endangered Balinese starling birds. During the breaks Biz cards werebexchanged and stories we're spun.

The earthAWARE story is always well received, at TEDxUbud this was especially true as sustainability and education were major themes. Immediate interest was shown by folks from the Bali International School (BIS), the Namaste Retreat Centre, the Green School and Blue Karma Resort. In the week following TEDxUbud all four locations were visited and the amazement at all things Bali increased by the hour while new friends shared meals, plans and laughter with me. Several projects became apparent during these visits: a beach cleanup with 250 kids from BIS, program development for visitors to experience the local environment in a culturally connected way for Blue Karma, outbound connecting of Namaste Center to USA corporate clients and a possible part time position as liaison for he developing Green Camp division of Green School connecting t he program to project sites around the world while weaving Earthaware content into all.

Biggest takeaway from Bali: amazement, wonder, happiness, connection...


Camp Mosaic Curriculum Development, Singapore


Fun in the jungle...

In early May I was back in Singapore for a week to contribute to writing a curriculum for the ground breaking Camp Mosaic Program. With seven other education, research and creative professionals from backgrounds as varied as Neuro-Science to Opera singing, Engineering to Leadership Management and Architecture we collectively built a week long program for 8-12 year old kids that teaches "heart-centered" creative techniques leading to new innovative strategies and non-linear thinking. Camp Mosaic created this program to offer kids additional learning opportunities beyond the standard scientific and mathematical focused course work typical in most of Asia.

camp mosaic curriculum development

The short camp-like program will run during holiday periods when kids are not in regular school. Content is tied across four disciplines of art, music, creative writing and drama through "awareness of our inner and outer universe".


After two days of internal planning and theoretic activities, led in half day blocks by each of the primary curriculum contributors, we ran a mock Earthaware program with the team, out in the jungle, hot, sticky, sweaty and covered in vegetation and buzzing bugs at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve next to the historic Singapore Quarry and Dairy Farm.

bikit timah nature reserve, singapore

We wanted to run the team through the standard hands-on Earthaware process of discuss, draw, gather, clean, form, skin, adorn, story, song and present so we ran the experiment at two levels: on the analysis and educator level and on the experiential level of the child going through the program.

The first step is to identify what we "think" we want to create. We started drawing basic shapes on scrap paper while talking and chatting about form, relevance of topic, interest to children and the like. We quite quickly arrived at using the Singapore national mascot, the "Merlion" (bottom half is a fish and top is a lion) as our pet project form to create. We sketched the Merlion and broke it down into its component parts: head, torso, fins and base to stand upon. We discussed the symbology and grandeur of the form and the meaning in Singapore history and as a modern day mascot. We took away an understanding of how the selection process is in itself a lesson on awareness and sensitivity to historical and current values.

singapore merlion

Then we hiked into the Singapore jungle, into the humid, chirping, dripping forest... the base is mostly sand and the thick vegetation is mostly no more than 10 meters high.

first order of business in an equator adjacent jungle is beating trees with sticks to scare off pythons and cobras (not joking). Next comes trimming flexible branches and vines which seem to grow back as soon as we take them. Our materials gathering encompasses both organic and manmade items, branches and trash are transported out of the forest by piling them up and dragging them on a trusty old sheet back to our assembly area. Sad to say that as in most of the rest of the world there is far too much human fabricated and discarded synthetic material sitting in plain sight and buried under the jungle growth. This is so common everywhere on the planet by now that the sight softens in its ability to shock... a matter which is beyond shocking itself. Since it exists in nature now we gather the trash alongside the beauty of natures bounty. During an Earthaware program the discussion of what belongs in nature and what does not begins at this stage.

Next we follow the standard Earthaware procedures of cleaning the materials and removing and sharp or dangerous parts. We forming the sturdier items into a frame or skeleton of our Merlion binding the joints with bio-degradable masking tape we had brought and wire that we had found.

A family with two daughters passed by as we were working and asked if they could help: of course! They pitched right in and began weaving leaves onto the skeleton, the skinning phase had begun. Children take to the weaving stage immediately and with little need for instruction. On this day the big brained adults needed far more explanation than the randomly passing children.

Using the balance of the colored leaves plus some plastic items our Merlion took form. We set it in front of an impressive large leaf about two meters tall to command importance amongst the squawking forest birds and monkeys and we were done!

Fun was had by all! During the day we covered the sequence of a basic Earthaware program and its place in the Camp Mosaic curriculum was established. We took our Merlion back out into the jungle, removed the plastic and trash elements for recycling and left the organics to be reclaimed by the forest.

The Camp Mosaic team will reassemble in Singapore in the fall of 2012 to run the full curriculum in a test manner then again in December for the real deal with 120 kids over two weeks of back to back week long Camp Mosaic events.



PNCA Graduate Studies Workshop April 2012

This April saw the second annual three day workshop for the first year graduate students at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) which runs the program in coordination with the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts (OCAC).


17 students participated this year for the three, three hour sessions. In keeping with the theme of three we broke them into three teams. The challenge was to make a play oriented "thing" that a kid could make most anywhere in the world.


The sessions led through a stage of awareness building and materials gathering, into a drawing and designing session with discussion of the materials they scrounged from within the building and within a five city block radius. Next came forming and fabrication with the ensuing tests and failures (also known as elimination sucesses). Finally each team presented to the class and demonstrated what they made while describing how the creation is a useful play thing and can be made of found materials by kids.

and here is some video to prove it: The Cart, The Swing and The Tetherball



reuse of old seed company memo books

our old friend Ryan Coulter (an awesome designer and all around good person) made us aware of his friend Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company today. Aarons' company works with Field Notes, a firm that produces really sweet notebooks and sketchbooks. Aaron has an amazing collection of old farm seed and implement memo books from the mid-west USA. he knows them, embodies the vibe of the times they were used and spaks eloquently of the need to preserve them. he scans them for Field Notes covers and we hope interior insert pages as well, like the originals. in  this way he reuses the content, the design, the feeling of the originals... he repackages the energy of these wonderful old items into something we want to use and be a part of today!.

we especially love how Aaron points out that he bis saving these from the landfill! way to go!!!

the seed company memo book is dead: long live the seed company memo book

Thich Nhat Hanh on Unconsumption

We are so happy to read in The Ecoligist today an interview with revered Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. The interview crosses many topics including the effect of human consumption (and the alternate: Unconsumption). He speaks from a calm and detached point of view with no judgement, only reference and example.

Read the first section of the article focusing on the issues of mass extinction and global temperature rise here.

Read the second section here, where he illustrates that you do not need to live like a monk to have a smaller impact on our environment while living a rich and full life.

"My mindful consumption is the way out"

We take these teachings as further acknowledgement that making decisions in our daily lives to consume significantly less leads to a better life.


His Holiness Dalai Lama with Charlie Rose

an amazing conversation between two great souls

in section one and two HHDL connects environment with individual, political and spiritual decisions among other topics

in section three we hear about education, science and spirituality

 we are beyond humbled in being asked to write an environmental curriculum to be taught in the Tibetan Children's Villages throughout exiled Tibet, overseen by HHDL

brave girls project

Earthaware soul sister Karen Weiss runs a bi-monthly project in Vancouver, Washington for girls going through a number of challenging life situations. she uses shared creation art projects as the vehicle for personal transformation with groups of girls ranging in age from 8-16.

starting with a kit of re-use and found objects the group worked this past Wednesday to weave Native American Dreamcatchers, objects that they can place thier bright future visions into for manifestation in thier lives.

Karen lists the ingredients used to cook up this amazing project:

  • reclaimed "bailing wire" I cut myself @ a friends barn when feeding and working her horses - RE-USE
  • Freshly cut birch branches from my weeping birch in front yard - RE-USE
  • Polished sea glass I collected from all around the world - RE-USE
  • Misc shells, wood and beads also collected from around the world - RE-USE
  • Green string I saved from Tibet.... that was braided into my hair by an elder - RE-USE
  • Heavier string to create the web **** this was the ONLY item purchased***

Karen taught the girls to suspend the shells and glass, weave the sticks and sew together the elements into personal Dreamcatchers that they could take with them. we are so happy to have Karen and the Brave Girls on the Earthaware team!


looking at recycle and REUSE

we couldn't agree more: recycling can be great however it does require more energy consumption to gather, transport, reprocess, refabricate and redistribute the materials being recycled: REUSE on the other hand does not take the material out of the consumption stream, it keeps it in play and that truly reduces the footprint of the consumption at hand!

HOLA Los Angeles

last week we met with Anthony Brown, Executive Director of Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), an urban non-profit organization serving 2,400 youths in central LA by offering a multitude of after school programs as an alternative to the all to prevalent gang culture of the area.

Tony and Owen agreed to March 17 as the date for the first Earthaware and A+D Museum ArchKIDtecture+Design program to be held at HOLA. We will work with the HOLA kids, A+D kids and local landscape maintenance materials plus trash we will gather off the area streets to collectivley create 3D art structures. We are capping this event at the first 50 kids that register. It will be a day long program of learning the connections between materials and environment: creativity and conservation!

sand dancer inspiration

We were sent this amazing exampl;e of creativity at large scale from earthaware supporter and contributor Karen Weiss. As Karen points out, "the ability to create with sand on your toes... can't wait to do it some day in big scale and collaboration."

Earthaware could not agree more so we have added two modules to the developing K-12 curriculm based on Sand Dancers creations, one to address SCALE and the other to investigate relative extremes of temporary vs. permanenet visual art, thanks Karen!

earthaware in South Africa

our dear friend and earthaware teammate from the McLeod Gang Yong Ling School project, Niusia Winczewski, has just completed the first earthaware inspired remote workshop in coordination with Future Families, an organization helping children and families effected by HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

In true earthaware style Niusia gathered old papers and paints left over from past projects and combined them with locally found natural materials for the workshop. She set the theme as "Love Nature" and conversation during the workshop followed suit.

we are proud to have Niusia moving forward with earthaware efforts in the Southern Hemisphere and look forward to seeing more wonderful goodness creating events!

all photos by Niusia Winczewski

community center, bintan, indonesia

after working with the kids at the day school we traveled some kilometers up the coast to another village where we worked in the local community center with about 40 kids and a number of parents both mothers and fathers. the center runs several after school programs for area kids and also offers adult career training and language courses. these communities are very remote and aside from state funded schools for the kids, with traditional curriculums, there are not any sources for improving local poverty conditions aside from the work being done by The Island Foundation.

"The Island Foundation has begun to build a two-way bridge based on knowledge, skills, culture, tradition and history between the islands of the Riau Archipelago, Singapore and the rest of the world.  TIF works in partnership with each target village, employing local villagers and helping them develop the skills with which to take control of their lives and develop a sustainable path out of poverty."

we took a break and suddenly the kids had Hip Hop on the stereo. this international musical language immediately spawned a dance-off

Then back to work making our Sea Manatee locally called a Dugong. These docile sea mammals are becoming endagered in these areas due to resort developments and loss of seagrass habitat


Day School, Bintan, Indonesia

Our first full day program on Bintan was run at a day school for several hundred children from villages surrounding Malang Rapat. We worked with a fourth grade class of about 45 kids.

The first task was to gather waste/recycle/trash materials for the days work so we headed out on a mini-field trip, across the road, to the beach which was already within earshot of the classroom.

We spent about 30 minutes gathering plastics, rope and netting from the sand and the high-tide vegetation. The pile we created was knee high within minutes, there is no shortage of the worlds trash on the postcard beaches of equatorial Bintan, Indonesia.

We washed the trash in the ocean then wrapped our finds in plastic bags that we found and dragged it all back to the school. Our two interpreters engaged the children in discussion about trash, where it comes from, how they are connected to it and how it effects the environment. We then shuffled up the dune to the road and back to class for some toy making.

Next step was sorting: bottles, caps, lids, bags, rope, Styrofoam, net, organics and so on. Then came the simple exercise of cutting plastic bottles into flowers, assembling cars and planes and allowing free expression using techniques of assembly, weaving, tieing and wrapping.

We had very few tools: a Swiss Army knife, some scissors and one pair of clippers... and a ton of kids. So we went back to the stone age and broke sea shells on the ground to reveal sharp edges which were used to score and cut the plastic. A few nails were found for puncturing with the added help of a round stone as a hammer. The children came up with most of the ingenious ways to manipulate the plastic which we learned is very tough and durable and will last on that beach, or inside a fish or turtle... for hundreds of years.

Using a large fishnet that we found half buried in the sand on the beach we strung up a presentation wall for all the kids to hang their creations after they presented to the group... everyone told of the thing they made, what it is made of and how they can prevent the material it is made of from ending up on the beach again!